SPAP Board of Directors
Mayra O. Martínez, DScPAs, MS, MPAS, PA-C attended the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) where she received a Bachelor’s of Science with a major in Biology and Math with a minor in Chemistry. She then received a Master’s of Science in Mathematical Sciences and a Master’s of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. She continued her studies and received a Doctorate of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacology and Health Sciences (MCPHS). Her dissertation was focused on pediatric obesity in the Rio Grande Valley. She also has a background in teaching and taught at the Mathematics department at UTRGV as well as high school science. She has been practicing medicine with a focus on rural medicine, family medicine, and pediatrics. She was the first elected President-Elect of the Rio Grande Valley PA Society. She is also a part of several committees of TAPA and a member of AAPA.
Brent attended Emory University for PA school and graduated in 2006. Before PA school he taught various science classes and coached baseball, football and wrestling at Massanutten Military Academy (Woodstock, VA), Riverside Military Academy (Gainesville, GA) and Lumpkin County Highschool (Dahlonega, GA) He also held an EMT license in Virginia and served as a volunteer and worked in several different emergency departments as an ED tech.
Ali grew up in the lakes area of Minnesota. She attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a degree in Food, Nutrition and Dietetics. She went on to become a board certified dietitian. She then attended PA school at Quinnipiac University graduating in 2004. Ali practiced 15 years in Neonatology before following her passion of care coordination of complex kids. She now serves patients in Pediatric Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine at Sanford Health Medical Center in Fargo, ND. Ali is also part of the Sanford Coordinated Treatment Clinic serving children throughout North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and myelodysplasia. She is a member of the North Dakota Academy of PAs. I am eager to serve and learn from PAs caring for pediatric patients.
SECRETARY | JULIE KLINGER, PA-C
Julie graduated from Baylor College of Medicine's Physician Assistant program in 2015. She currently works in pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas. She is a member of Texas Children's Cancer and Hematology Centers' Beyond Protocols committee which brings social events to patients who have undergone bone marrow transplants. She also enjoys working with the Baylor College of Medicine PA program as a clinical preceptor and mentor.
TREASURER | MARK ELSESSER, MHS, PA-C
Mark Elsesser, MHS, PA-C, CLC was born and raised in Long Island, NY. He attended the Entry-Level Master’s Physician Assistant (ELMPA) Program at Quinnipiac University, and received his Bachelor of Science in Health Science Studies in 2017 and his Master of Health Science in Physician Assistant Studies in 2019. At graduation, Mark was awarded the Director’s Award for his commitment to PA training. He currently practices in pediatric primary care in Manchester, CT. His special interests include newborn care, lactation medicine, and well child care. To further his understanding of lactation medicine, he received his Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) training from the Healthy Children Project in 2021. In addition to being a Fellow of SPAP, he is also a Fellow of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA), the Connecticut Academy of Physician Assistants (ConnAPA), and a National Affiliate of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Mark is excited to bring his energy to the SPAP Board of Directors as a Member at Large.
Alyssa Knueven (Gage), MS, CAQ-PED, PA-C is the pediatric content expert at the Rush University Physician Assistant Studies Program in Chicago, IL. Her clinical background is in outpatient and inpatient general pediatrics, where she served as lead PA. Knueven obtained a Certificate of Qualifications (CAQ) in General Pediatrics in 2019. Her pediatric interests include newborn care, pediatric health disparities, and quality of life in pediatric chronic illness. She has experience leading an executive board as former Class President of the Rush PA Student Society. Her current leadership activities involve service on college level and program level committees at Rush, one of which she is the chair. Knueven has been a fellow member of SPAP since 2017 and has given two presentations for the SPAP Annual CME Conference. Knueven would be honored to represent fellow and future pediatric PAs as a Member-at-Large to support its members and move forward and expand the board’s agenda and initiatives. Along with her experience, Knueven would bring innovation and a passion for excellence in pediatric medicine and PA advocacy.
MEMBER AT LARGE | Meredeth Alley, PA-C
Meredith grew up in Texas, attended undergrad at UNC Chapel Hill and then attended PA school at Arcadia University, in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She was the first physician assistant in pediatric urology at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and has continued to work there for the past 15 years. Meredith enjoys teaching, orienting new hires, and helping adult patients with congenital urologic anomalies safely transition to adult care. She also joined the faculty at Thomas Jefferson University's PA Program in Philadelphia in 2020 and enjoys helping educate future PA's.
Daniel Wood has been in practice as a physician assistant with an emphasis in pediatrics since graduation in 2000. Currently, he practices both inpatient and outpatient pediatrics. He works in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit(PICU) at the University of Texas at Austin. Also, he is a clinical instructor with the School of Medicine at University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas. He works outpatient at Pediatric Care of Austin in Austin, Texas. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. He is the recipient of the Pediatric PA of the year for 2018. He also works internationally annually providing care to children in the community Quetzaltenango, Guatemala supervising medical students from the University of Texas Medical School in San Antonio.
Elizabeth is a 2006 graduate of Baylor College of Medicine’s PA Program. Since graduation, she has worked clinically in pediatric critical care at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. She is the Program Director as well as the director of the pediatric curriculum at Baylor College of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program. She is the past-president of the Society for PAs in Pediatrics and has worked on several AAP panels for well-child care. Her professional interests include teaching, breastfeeding, child safety, child development, and promotion of well-child care. She currently lives in Houston with her husband and four young children.